Saturday, February 06, 2010

"And HOW," you ask, "does she ever find time to sew?"

Well, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, and sometimes this girl has to sew. It feeds my soul. Especially experimenting on finding new patterns that will work for my over-large sasquatch shaped body.

And it's that time of winter when a gal is longing for spring!

So, these yens found me the other day in the sewing section of some store or other, and I found this pattern:

It's the McCalls M5451 Easy Stitch 'n Save blouse pattern. I, of course, refused to follow the directions and promptly experimented with turning it into a dress. I was quite thrilled, you see, to find some cream poly challis fabric that had lovely large-ish flowers scattered broadly on it in sort of a watercolor style in pinks, light purples, pale greens...spring time colors. And all for only a dollar sixty per yard. I promptly snatched up four yards of it. Just the right amount to play with and at a price that would not make a sewing disaster a financial disaster.

I'd been thinking that something along the "empire waisted peasant blouse" lines would look good on me, since it would be sort of a modern interpretation of regency styles, putting the emphasis on the bust as opposed to the waist (which in my case is non-existent). So this pattern really fit the bill.

It was super super easy to make. The most intimidating part (which is stupid and was only intimidating because I'd never specifically done it before) was pinning the bias tape onto the inside of the dress at under-bust level and sewing on for a casing for that elastic. All the other casings were fold-over self-casings and were super easy. I was easily able to customize the dress by measuring on my body where I wanted the elastic to go, and I got a really good fit.

I'd also like to point out that there are a few extra inches of ease in this pattern. Although my measurements were a bit larger than the size guide, I still fit into it without sizing up the pattern, and it is very flattering and not too tight.

In order to convert it from a blouse into a dress, I just lengthened it to be below my calf. I suppose I cut the skirt a tiny bit on an A-line, but not very severely. Wearing it, it falls straight, but there's enough ease to walk gracefully without needing to mince steps. I would not go running or play baseball in this dress, but then again, I never do those things anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention: the sleeves that I made are a medley of what's on the pattern. I did an elbow length elasticized sleeve by cutting and doing a casing where version C would have had me adding an elastic to make a big ruffle sleeve. I figured a cap sleeve like in version A would leave me feeling too bare for Church and not quite elegant enough. I am, after all, not 25 anymore.

Now I want to find a suitable darker colored fabric so that I can make a version of this pattern that I can wear sooner than Pascha. I think I just made my Pascha dress with this pattern and that makes me happy.

Oh, and I swiped the picture of the pattern from here.

5 comments:

Ο ΓΡΑΦΩΝ said...

oh, i envy you so...
This sounds lovely!
I really wish that i knew how to sew and i keep telling myself that in June, once i'm through with some horrid exams that i'm currently studying for, perhaps i could give it a try. You make it sound so easy and i'm comletely intimidated by the mere thought of it... Is it really not so hard?? i'm 25 now. Do i still have time, or is it like ballet? Get started when you're four or forget it forever?
It's hard to find dresses and skirts that meet some acceptable modesty standards. I think sewing is the only way out of the shopping dead-end... Anyway...
Hopefully you'll post a picture to encourage hesitant seamstresses-to-be:)
in Christ
Ann

Hezra said...

ooh, I love that pattern!! I too have got to sew. and it has been sooooo long. I need clothes too. I may have to hunt this one up. I want to see pics too!! I'll bet it is lovely.

Monica said...

Alana, I hope you'll post a picture of you in your dress. I am a little plus-sized, too, and wonder if this would look right on me...

Alana said...

I did a tiny bit of sewing as a teenager, but other than that, I'm self taught, since I got married. I started out barely knowing how to follow a simple pattern. Now I can do alterations, custom-fit patterns, change things up, sew things together without looking at directions, and create patterns by measuring a pre-existing garment and translating those measurements to a grid. All self taught, with the help of some helpful instructions found in some better patterns. I learned from sewing instructions in the Elizabeth Lee patterns (www.elizabethlee.com), from when I was creating clothes with nusring openings. At www.sensibility.com there are many helpful links and instructions on putting together garments.

My advice: Find someone to show you how to work a machine. Find someone who can walk you through the information in a standard sewing pattern. Then, buy a simple sewing pattern and the cheapest fabric you can find, and start experimenting. You will create some disasters. This is part of the learning curve. Forge ahead and you will gain confidence.

Laura said...

those look gorgeous, Alana! Can you post a picture of the finished product?